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Training a key to avoiding ‘desk despondency’


Having a child follow in your footsteps was once a source of pride for Britain’s parents. However, according to a new survey from recruitment and talent management consultancy, Hudson, that is now a thing of the past.

One in four (28%) of the UK’s HR professionals are so dissatisfied with their current role that they would not want to see their children in their job.

The findings represent a stark warning to employers that, even in a tough economic climate, engaging work and opportunities for progression remain critical if businesses are to avoid the kind of “desk-despondency” that could lead to talented employees leaving.

A third (32%) of those surveyed cited better opportunities in other professions as the main reason for their reluctance and one in four believed their children could earn higher financial rewards elsewhere or enjoy a better work/life balance (28% and 23% respectively).

Among other professions, male lawyers were the least content: almost one third (32.3%) said they would not want their children to tread the same path as they had. Female IT workers were the most keen to see their children emulate their career: only one in five (20.2%) would not want to see their children in their job.

Andy Rogerson, chief executive, Hudson UK, said: “These findings are very disturbing, especially with the current economic conditions. That so many UK professionals would not want to see their children follow in their footsteps points to a workforce that is both unhappy and lacking confidence. Employers should take note of these findings and seek to tackle the sources of such gloom.

“With dark clouds on the economic horizon, employers may revert to short term retention tactics, focusing too heavily on salaries, for example. By contrast, in many cases, improved communication and a more flexible approach can empower and liberate employees.

“Trying to keep frustrated employees motivated and upbeat will be one of the key challenges for businesses in these tougher economic conditions. Ignoring employees’ concerns will not be an option.”

Hudson conducted the study among 1,000 UK workers in professional employment to assess whether employees were satisfied with the financial rewards, opportunities for progression and work/life balance offered by their current job.

Hudson’s advice for employers aiming to boost job satisfaction:

  • Make sure that communication with employees is honest and personal – conducting anonymous employee surveys as well as face-to-face meetings can be a practical way to uncover underlying sources of tension or dissatisfaction within the workforce

  • Give employees clear parameters regarding expectations – a very common source of ennui amongst employees is not understanding where they fit within the company; what is expected of them and what they need to achieve in order to ensure promotion

  • Provide the right training to match the development needs of all employees – employers often underestimate the value of training. Not only does it improve skill levels, it also signals to employees that they are valued by the company and that the company expects to retain them

  • Ensure line managers engage regularly with employees to gauge satisfaction levels, so that any problem areas can be acted upon – too often small problems within companies are left unaddressed and, left to fester, they swell to create irresolvable issues. Putting in place a process of regular, informal sessions with line managers can help nip these in the bud.


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